March 29, 2014 - 10:31 AM
PENTICTON - The Boonstock music festival has some authorities worried but Penticton Indian Band Chief Jonathan Kruger is focusing his attention on the economic development opportunities the festival can bring, rather than its shady history.
The Indian Band has agreed to let Boonstock promoters use a section of their reservation land as a campground and concert venue when the festival comes to town August 1-3.
While he isn’t focusing on the festival’s negative past, he wants to hear that measures are being taken to ensure the festival doesn’t bring trouble to the community.
“I’m hoping it will be a good story and a good success,” Kruger said.
Kruger sees Boonstock as a reason to clean up some open fields in the community that aren’t being used, so they will be ready to show developers interested in the land in the future.
It is all part of his economic development plan that he has been implementing over the last several years. He said the progress made on the reservation benefits everyone in Penticton. It is not just about helping Band members, but providing opportunities and jobs for Penticton residents also, Kruger said.
The contract signed with Boonstock is only short-term so if things don’t go well, there are opportunities to move the festival to a different location.
As for now, Kruger is looking forward to removing overgrown bushes and junk collections taking up space on the land.
The Band approved a plan last week, which provides Haynes with more time to work with the RCMP and other service providers like the fire department.
The event promoters have not yet presented the RCMP with a security plan, which makes preparation difficult.
“We don’t know what their expectations are from police,” said RCMP Staff Sgt. Dave Fayle.
Yet Boonstock organizer Barb Haynes said she has been working with the RCMP over the last several months, and more closely in recent weeks with the officers assigned to work with her.
“We’ve done everything we said we’d do to date,” Haynes said of the planning process.
Fayle said the RCMP don’t have a close relationship with the promoters.
Haynes said their first priority was to secure a plan with the Penticton Indian Band since they are hosting the festival on their reserve lands. Haynes said RCMP staff were aware organizers were working with the Band first and the police second.
“We had communicated and promised to do that,” Haynes said.
As for security concerns, some of which are coming from RCMP, Haynes said they have hired two security firms to work the event. She has also been in contact with the Ministry of Transportation and the city’s traffic management team to ensure safe driving routes and traffic control.
Haynes is expecting around 8,500 people. Advanced tickets are now on sale and 1,200 weekend passes were purchased in the first 10 minutes.
People from all over North America and even South America are buying tickets, according to Haynes. She thinks it won’t be long before the event is completely sold out.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014